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How to fail in business

Those who fail to plan...

...plan to fail. I've heard that ever since I started school...errr... a number of years ago! And, I suspect, it's even older than that. I couldn't find out the bibliography for it, but it's actually irrelevant. The fact is if you don't have a destination (a plan) any road will get you there. Men have a justifiably bad reputation of refusing to ask for directions when driving (I have been there so many times!), but so many business owners approach growing their businesses in the same haphazard way (ummm, you DO want your business to grow, right?)

That's your first goal - decide the ultimate end for your business. The Ray Kroc's, Bill Gates's and Steve Jobs's of the business world didn't wake up one morning and decide to build a one shop, small business. The visionaries were just that - visionaries where the end result went far beyond the orginal objectives. We failed to really plan out our first 2 years and it showed. Pretty ho-hum growth, and while it was a good learning and consolidating time, we really wasted much of that time that we could have been aggressively growing the business.

So this year, we began with a definite goal of doubling the turnover by the end of the year. We thought we were making a good goal. By the end of April we had already reached, and exceeded, that goal. So we doubled the goal, so that reaching this new one will take us to 4 times the turnover. And that's another thing about goals. Try to make them realistic, but not too easy to obtain. For those who've been in business a few years you can base that on previous years' experience. For start ups, you have some research to do on competitiors and market share. And, once you've set your goals, they need monitoring. I know, at any moment, just where we are in relation to the (revised) goal. I know how many new clients I need by the end of the year, and how many I need every week.

What's the point of that? Imagine deciding you want a multi-national company, with 1000 employees. On your first day in business, do you know how you will get there? What turnover you will need, how many of "x" product you will need to sell to attain that? How many people, and how much time, per sale? These breakdowns are crucial to vetting goals and how relistic they are, plus tracking your performance. I recommend using a spreadsheet to accomplish much of the hard work. Every time I get a new client, I enter them in my spreadsheet. It updates turnover, monthly income, expenses, and clients need to achieve my goals.

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